Those familiar with April the giraffe also know of Kelly Bain. The artist from Bath, Pennsylvania, was one of the first few to draw April, when she was pregnant with Tajiri. Her prints, which were sold at Animal Adventure Park for two months, were an instant hit.

One could call Kelly a modern-day Beatrix Potter. Just like Potter, who drew the famous “Benjamin Bunny” and “Peter Rabbit,” Kelly Bain is known for her niche paintings — all inspired by zoo animals. The 50-year-old is currently selling her artworks at Lehigh Valley Zoo gift shop.

Life as an artist is tough

Despite her talent and dedication, her life as an artist is fraught with uncertainty. “Being an artist in today’s technology-based world is a great challenge. Not only do we have several aspiring artists out there all competing to be “known,” so many of them are digital artists. I can’t say I have it all figured out just yet. I just keep doing what I do, put myself out there, and follow my heart.”

It's not about the money

Kelly says her customers keep coming back to her because they love what she does. "I try to make my work affordable, and I put my heart into it. It's much more than just trying to make money," she says.

Kelly works in a variety of mediums. Her favorite, however, is watercolors.

“I have a special fondness for watercolors. I recently discovered watercolor pencils and I have been enjoying them tremendously,” says the artist.

Kelly’s favorites artists are Monet, Salvador Dali, and Gustav Klimt. She has also always loved the gentle softness of Beatrix Potter and E.H. Shepard, who drew the beloved “Winnie the Pooh.”

“I have painted many animals, but so far my favorites have been roosters and, of course, giraffes,” she says.

Parents must encourage kids to draw

In June, Bain published her first coloring book, “Giraffes: A coloring experience,” which is now selling on Amazon and CreateSpace.

Kelly says parents must play an active role in involving children in art.

“I believe parents who want to encourage their children into art should expose them to it on many forms.

Take a trip to a museum, or an art show, buy some art supplies and experiment. Everyone has some form of creativity in them. It’s an individual journey of the soul,” she says.

Jennifer Ross from Washington is doing all she can to encourage her grandkids to take up art. Ross, who purchased Kelly’s coloring book, intends to gift it to her grandchildren on their birthday.

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